A Parliamentary panel slammed the Commerce and Textile ministries for their lethargic approach in the implementation of trade facilitation measures for imports and exports. In a report published by Indian Express, the panel also highlighted some specific lapses and the lack of last-mile connectivity that has harmed country’s trade facilitation efforts. Drafted by a sub-committee headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nishikant Dubey, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report has also warned of taking stringent action against officials who have failed to deliver on their deadlines.
“The Committee (is) dismayed to note the lackadaisical approach of Department of Commerce and Ministry of Textiles in initiating/implementing trade facilitation measures. The committee desire(s) the Cabinet Secretary to convene meetings of the various ministries/departments regularly besides the meetings of the NCTF (National Committee on Trade Facilitation) to monitor their progress and contribution,” said the report.
“The Committee (is) dismayed to note that lack of infrastructure facilities like port to road connectivity, rail infrastructure to move containers to inland containers depots (ICD) and non-coordination among all the stakeholders for improving the infrastructure are adversely affecting the trade facilitation measures initiated by the government,” it added further.
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A detailed report on the performance of import and export trade facilitation through the Customs ports was submitted to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on April 29.
Examined by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the report also stated that it was important to maintain a smooth movement and clearances of goods across borders at the earliest possible with minimum cost. However, the PAC panel has recommended appointment of a regulator in order to ensure smooth operations of all shipping lines and it also recommended that a regulator should be appointed to control operations of all shipping lines, and observed that railway freight charges should not be increased to subsidise other segments.